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Old 07-23-2011, 01:42 PM   #1
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Pressure Test for Drains


We are DIY remodeling a 100 year-old house in OH. We replaced much of the existing plumbing (over 70%) with new PVC to match the new layout. The glue and primer recommended for PVC were used. All lines were "water tested" with no leaks. Inspector requires a pressure test of drain & vent lines. Requirements are that we hold 5 PSI for 10 minutes. We can only hold it for 2 minutes and failed first inspection. All walls & ceilings with plumbing lines are open (no drywall or plaster). All lines are accessible. When we found leaks in old lines, we replaced them with new PVC, so that almost every line is new PVC. After 2 days of searching, our problem is that we cannot locate all leak(s). We need suggestions for finding leaky fittings, small holes etc. Any Pros out there with 'tricks of the trade' that you care to share?

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Old 07-23-2011, 02:10 PM   #2
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Pressure Test for Drains


Breush soapy water at joints to see ifany bubbling of air line out is going on.

Can you re-isolate sectkons of the drain plumbing into zones, by cutting pipes and then using a coupling to join the ends together later?

This is to narryow down on the location of leaks

Are you sure you sealed the drain openings in/at the various fixtures?

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Old 07-23-2011, 02:35 PM   #3
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Pressure Test for Drains


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Breush soapy water at joints to see ifany bubbling of air line out is going on.

Can you re-isolate sectkons of the drain plumbing into zones, by cutting pipes and then using a coupling to join the ends together later?

Are you sure you sealed the drain openings in/at the various fixtures?
Brush Soapy Water - We tried listening for air leaks and found some by sound. We will try the soapy water next. Is dishwashing liquid mixed with water OK? It seems like there are always lots of bubbles in the sink when dishes are washed.

Re-Isolate sections - I was afraid that we might have to do this. I was hoping there was an easier way than cutting/coupling pipes.

Sealed Drain Openings - We used the red, round test plugs to seal toilet openings, the kind with a rubber ring and wing nut to tighten the rubber against the inside of the pipe. We also used black rubber ballon plugs in smaller openings, inflated to 30 psi as instructed.
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Old 07-23-2011, 02:57 PM   #4
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Pressure Test for Drains


Are you also testing the underground pipe? If you are then your in for a tough time as that pipe is to probably old to hold a test. Cap/plug at the base of the stacks if possible.
Now, here is where I find most of the air test leaks-
All test gear must be checked. Including gauges, balloons, plugs, caps, air fittings etc. Spray with soapy solution. Recheck for bubbles after a few minutes, they are not always visible at first.
Next, check all your fittings.

Can you water test? 10' of water head is equal to 5lbs. of pressure- water pressure is .48lbs per foot of elevation. It is standard practice to test this way. Water is very discriminating. You will see the leak. If you don't see it, then you know its passing by your test gear inside the pipe.
The disadvantage to testing with water is if you blow a plug things will get wet!
Hope this helps,
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Old 07-23-2011, 03:22 PM   #5
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Pressure Test for Drains


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Are you also testing the underground pipe?
Fortunately, no. Inspection stops at the sewer connection since nothing was changed below this connection.

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Now, here is where I find most of the air test leaks-
All test gear must be checked. Including gauges, balloons, plugs, caps, air fittings etc. Spray with soapy solution. Recheck for bubbles after a few minutes, they are not always visible at first. Next, check all your fittings.
We checked every thing except the test gear. It was all new equipment and we "assumed" it was good to go. Thanks for the tip.

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Can you water test? 10' of water head is equal to 5lbs. of pressure- water pressure is .48lbs per foot of elevation. It is standard practice to test this way. Water is very discriminating. You will see the leak. If you don't see it, then you know its passing by your test gear inside the pipe.
Wish I would have thought of this - Looks like you need to test the system in sections from the bottom up so you can release the column of water into the sewer and not the basement. It will work except for the vent lines in the attic where we cannot get a 10 ft water head.
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Old 07-24-2011, 07:26 AM   #6
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Pressure Test for Drains


Instead of soapy water, use a product designed for the job. I use Rectorleak "Better Bubble." It is not expensive and works better.

I feel your pain, but things could be worse. The county next to mine requires a water test for the DWV system. You basically have to get on the roof and completely fill the system through one of the vents. Since this results in a lot more pressure than 5 psig, and DWV piping isn't designed for much pressure anyway, this method usually causes more leaks than it finds.

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